Biopic about the life of Django Reinhardt, perhaps the greatest jazz guitarist of all time. Django and his quintet popularized "gypsy jazz" in France in the years leading up to and during WWII, with some of the most lovely music I've ever heard (bias warning: I am a fan and have been for a long time). If you don't know anything about Django Reinhardt, prepare for a wonderful discovery.
While the film is not perfect (it seems to take some liberties with at least a few plot details - hey, it's an historical drama, not a documentary), it does get the music wonderfully right, the performances seem mostly solid, and it does tell at least a small bit of the story of the persecution of Gypsy (Roma) people - a group usually lumped in as just one on the long list of those brutalized by the Nazis and thus often overlooked. The music carries this film nicely (it's really very well-done), allowing me to overlook the film's flaws. Best of all, it captures (I would imagine) some of the feel of life in prewar France and during the German occupation. And oh, that music...
My only disappointment was the absence of Stéphane Grappelli from the film (he apparently had fled to London, per a mention in the film), although a lot of the music depicted in the film sure sounded like that was him playing wonderfully on violin (so he almost seems present much of the time they're playing).
If you are a fan of jazz (or are at least open to learning about beautiful music), if you have a soft spot in your heart for France, this is a very enjoyable film. It'll make you want to light up a Gauloises (even if you despise smoking as I do), put on a scratchy, thick record of Le quintette du Hot Club de France, dream of the Liberation, and start shopping for flights to CDG. What a life, what a time it must have been, and what incredibly rich musical treasures they left us!
A 2018 release, it's in French (of course, as it should be) with English subtitles. Should be available from the usual places (I got it on blueray from Netflix). I loved it (obviously). Maybe you will like it, too.
Rare footage of Quintett du Hot Club de France - Reinhardt and Grappelli in 1945
Some wonderful recordings to whet your appetite:
After You've Gone
The Sheik of Araby
Echoes of France/La Marseillaise
Yeah, not bad for a guy with just two working fingers on his left hand...